April 2, 2006


This has worked surprisingly well, so maybe we'll try it every few weeks: how about some discussion and recommendations?

Here are three questions about what you've found especially good to read, listen to, or watch recently--the less well-known your discovery the better since I'm really just fishing for ideas (we'll phrase the questions for maximum hippness, but don't fret if you still use a Betamax and an 8-track player):

My favorite recent discovery for my iPod is:

(I'm no) Superman [theme from Scrubs] (Lazlo Bane)

The Wife and I had never seen the show but got the DVDs at Netflix and it's a hoot--the theme is infectious too.

My favorite recent discovery at Netflix is:

Rockford Files

Painfully 70s, but Jim Garner is dreamy.

My favorite recent book discovery is:

Seven Days to the Sea: an Epic Novel of The Exodus (Rebecca Kohn)

I was dubious for the first half to two thirds but then Ms Kohn hits her stride and makes a series of really brilliant theological/moral/political points that bring the whole text together.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 2, 2006 12:00 AM

After reading Emporer when it was recommended in the first round of this series, I went back to reread Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series so that I could get a better picture of what actually happened. Sure it's biased and sometimes focuses on the women too much, but Conn Iggulden's book changed or ignored so many facts surrounding Julius Caesar I had to scrub it from my brain. If you haven't read the series (and it is overly long with each book being approximately 900 pages) it's a guilty pleasure and the extensive Appendix in each book is worth reading on it's own.

Posted by: Patrick H at March 31, 2006 3:57 PM

I found the McCullough unreadable. Try John Williams's Augustus--it's awesome.

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 4:04 PM

I decided to give Arrested Development and Sigur Rosa try thanks to oj, so cheers for that.

My favorite recent discovery for my iPod is:

Takk by Sigur Ros. A little slower than what I'm used to but wonderfully calming when stuck in traffic.

My favorite recent discovery at Netflix is:

Bret Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be.

Some of the match selection is questionable (no title win over Flair or Piper, none of the matches with Demolition, the British Bulldogs or Jerry Lawler and the Survivor Series '96 match against Stone Cold) but it's still a worthy record of one of the greatest Canadians of all time.

My favorite recent book discovery is:

Renting Out Property For Dummies

Handy and useful stuff.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 4:09 PM


Are you becoming a slumlord? :)

Posted by: oj at March 31, 2006 4:13 PM

Parents own some rental and commercial properties and I take care of them when Dad's abroad and on holiday.

And it's much more satisfying soaking the rich than it is to crush the poor.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 31, 2006 4:25 PM

OJ, I read Augustus quite a while back (probably on your recommendation) and I'm sure I'll reread it in the future. I'm in a bit of a nostalgia phase right now, so the old books in my library are getting a workout.

Posted by: Patrick H at March 31, 2006 4:58 PM

Donnie Darko (2001) - Not a great film, but it has some gracefully eerie scenes and some unforgettable poetic concepts relating to the nature of time.

Saving the Appearances - Owen Barfield - I was supposed to have read this in college but I only skimmed through. I missed out. Traces the history of human consciousness from a unique sort of Christian perspective.

Late Registration - Kanye West - Hip-hop has largely jumped the shark as a musical form -- somehow West is able to squeeze some originality into the genre, but only when he allows his humor to come through. The "social conscience" tracks are (predictably) pure crap.

Posted by: Shelton at March 31, 2006 5:45 PM

What's an iPod? :)

Movie: "The Pink Panther". Holds up well. Sellers was something.

Literature: Auden's "For the Time Being"
Not a book, but might as well be.

Posted by: jdkelly at March 31, 2006 8:23 PM

Music: Badlands by Marty Stuart. A little preachy, but damn good music.

Netflix: Death Wish II. Contains one of the best movie lines ever--

Bronson-- Do you believe in Jesus?
Criminal-- Yes. Yes I do.
Bronson-- Well you're gonna meet him.

Book: The Prize (Daniel Yergin). It's been on my list for a long time.

Posted by: mf at March 31, 2006 9:11 PM

Stuff I've rediscovered mostly

Movie: City of Lost Children by Caro and Jeunot. Visually stunning. I really dig it for some reason.

Brazil by Gilliam. The terrible reviews for V for Vendetta got me to revisit this great film. As with the above film, a visual stunner.

Shanghai Triad by Zhang Yimou. The most beautiful movie I've ever seen. Chinese cinema can be awe inspiring.

The Last Alchemist by Iain McCalman. The story of Count Cagliostro. He was a star of the "Age of Reason" and no one really knows if he was a crook or a saint. He drove Goethe to paroxysms of hatred.

Orthodoxy by Chesterton. I recommended this last time, but I'm on my third reading and it keeps geting better. Taught me alot about Tolstoy and Nietzsche this time.

Tristram Shandy by Sterne. I was given a copy of the recent BBC production and want to read the book again before I see it. Alot of my friends found it tiresome, but I like it a lot. Sterne was more modern than us in a lot of ways.


The Mavericks: I can't believe I've been missing these guys. I want to kick my buddy that told me they were Nasville dreck in '93. Masterful. I think everything is good. I have Live in Austin and What a Cryin' Shame.

No Thanks a Rhino (?) compilation of 70's and early 80's punk. Fanfreakintastic!!! Singles from the Dictators to Feargal Sharkey.

Posted by: Pepys at March 31, 2006 11:19 PM

Oh yeah. The Rockford Files is incredible. My favorite episode was where Jim got stuck in a mental hospital and the bad guy doctor tried to give him a shot of "Head On A Post", a mixture of acid, PCP, Heroin etc. God that was a great show.

I also forgot to mention a friend sent me the Sanford and Son theme song: Streetbeater by Quincy Jones. I play it in my head whenever I walk...STRUT down the street.

Posted by: Pepys at March 31, 2006 11:34 PM

Movies: "City of God," a Brazilian gangster film from 2002. The gangsters are kids from the ghettos of Rio; the film is fairly brutal but I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Lord of the Flies +Goodfellas+Tarantino. "Serenity": Cowboys in Space with evil orclike zombies...how cool is that? "Capote" was excellent as well.

Books: Persepolis, a comic-book memoir of a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.
I have Lem's "Solaris" on hold at the library...anybody here read that?

Music: Sufjan Stevens, every single record. This is the most talented, interesting, passionate singer-songwriter-composer I've heard in 15 years.

Posted by: ted welter at April 1, 2006 1:04 AM

Movie: A Face in the Crowd. Elia Kazan's movie about the growing power of television and personality is superb. Andy Griffith is excellent as "Lonesome" Rhodes, a small town con man/grifter with the common touch.


Saw The Mavericks live at a small club here in Chicago just after What a Crying Shame was released. A couple hundred people were treated to virtually every song Raul knew for $10 a head. The bus was parked just outside and they went back for quick refreshments a couple of times so it was pretty loose by the end of the night.

Posted by: Rick T. at April 1, 2006 11:50 AM

I will second A Face in the Crowd - I think
Andy Griffith was astoundingly good in that role and I loved the movie. I think it is out on DVD now and I will be getting a copy.

If you get a chance get Andy Griffith's comedy routines, especially the ones about football and Romeo and Juliet. The man was a genius and the comedy routines are out there on CD.

Posted by: dick at April 1, 2006 4:01 PM

a full set of wkrp episodes has just appeared on ebay. it's bootleg but i am guessing that the official version is near to release, otherwise how would anyone have access to every episode. if anyone wants to go in with me (it's $160) drop a line here.

Rushmore -- superb and affecting bill murray

Freaks and Geeks -- kind of fun tv show about
high school life

Sailor Who Fell From The Grace of the Sea --
japanese perv author, but i like kris
kristofferson so sue me :)


Tool "Aneima" -- i love their sound, great
meshing of bass and lead guitars

311 "Transistor" -- kind of a ska/hard rock
sound out of omaha (who would of thunk it; they
could be from santa monica, if you didn't know

Earl Slick Band "Razor Sharp" -- nice slice
of solid 70's journeyman rock. slick played on
bowie's "Aladdin Sane" album; check out "Panic
In Detroit".

A Pattern Language : Towns, Buildings, Construction -- an architect went all over the
world studying indigineous architecture, and
the cultural forces behind them. there are 255
patterns, starting at the scale level of city,
progressing to ever smaller scale levels (down
to parts of individual rooms). read this book
and see what crap is being passed off for
housing these days. changed the way i look at
the world.

Posted by: toe at April 1, 2006 6:25 PM

iTunes: I've got two:
-Grey Eye Glances, A Little Voodoo -- crisp, tight, professional-sounding alt/rock
-Bering Strait -- a nice little country/bluegrass band made up entirely of Russians. Sounds like a novelty act, but they're serious musicians. Здравствулте, y'all!

Movie: Princess Mononoke. It's Myazaki. 'Nuff said.

Book: Jonathan Parshall & Anthony Tully, Shattered Sword: the Untold Story of the Battle of Midway -- Everything you ever wanted to know about the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway. 534 pages of meticulously researched detail, down to the tail coades on the aircraft and the parking arrangements on the hangar decks; yet it is entertaining and reads surprisingly fast. You should review this one, Orrin.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 1, 2006 6:30 PM

Ah, The Rockford files - I looked at a 1977 Firebird last month. Learning to do a back-up, 180-spin manuever is on my things to do before I die list.

BTW, thinking of the title music reminds me of that New Wave beginning of the first Bob Newhart show. So there's my recomendation.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at April 2, 2006 11:55 AM

oh, and i believe most people here would enjoy "My Name Is Earle" immensely.

Posted by: toe at April 3, 2006 2:35 PM
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